So, in the last instalment of our Love Story posts, Stacey told the (highly embarrassing) story of how I first told her that (I thought) I loved her. This next chapter of the story tells of how we a survived a Christmas at opposite ends of the country, and then finally (finally!) got together!

At the end of the last post, Stacey promised I’d write a little about my experiences of the night of the Christmas Ball. I’d gone with an old friend and when I lost her, I had quite a lot to drink. By the end of the night, I was fairly drunk – to the point where I actually (apparently!) stole a chocolate crepe from a boy (who I may or may not have known!) and ate it – getting nutella all over my face! I eventually managed to jump on one of the buses back to St Andrews (the ball takes place in a barn a few miles away) and two of my friends tried to walk me home; at which point I insisted to them that I lived in Tesco! (I have only the most sketchy memories of all of this.) By the time I got home, made plans to meet Stacey and then got lost in the badlands, I was drunk, over emotional and very tired. I actually remember being sat in my dress on the kerb crying in the snow when Stacey managed to find me – and my promise of love may have actually just been relief that I wasn’t going to spend the night sleeping at the roadside!

Carley had got very drunk at the St Andrews Christmas Ball

 Anyway, after the Christmas Ball there was one final week of classes and then most of the St Andrews students all headed home for Christmas. Stacey and I spent as much of this final week as we could together – we knew that we were unlikely to see each other until the new year, and after the last month or so, it felt strange. We tried as much as possible to stay away from one another during the day, but to spend our evenings together – in the hope that people wouldn’t realise just how close we’d become… Stacey technically still had a girlfriend at this point.

The problem, of course, was that it was rather obvious to our respective flatmates when one of the other of us were spending the night with the other. I actually met one of Stacey’s flatmates whilst pretty much naked in bed – she popped her head round Stace’s door and was shocked to see the two of us in bed, and I felt incredibly awkward. Whilst Stacey’s flatmates may not have been particularly impressed with our behaviour at first, they never said anything about it… unlike my flatmates.

Carley on an LGBT night in Manchester

One of the girls I lived with was part of the St Andrews LGBT, much as I was. She also knew Stacey’s girlfriend, and when she noticed that Stace was spending more and more time at our flat, she made a point of raising her eyebrows at me, and even asking at one point asking if M knew where Stacey was. This really made me panic – as much as I liked Stacey, I didn’t want to cause a massive drama with someone else’s girlfriend. This is actually what causes our first ever fight – late one night when we were talking about how we were having to lie and hide how we felt about one another, I tearfully told Stacey that I thought we were being stupid, that she should just go back to her girlfriend rather than deceive everyone. I still believe to this day that if she’d left that night, we never would have actually built a relationship together. She refused to leave, but we still hadn’t resolved what we were going to do.

We still hadn’t by the time we went home for Christmas – me with a green hoodie of Stacey’s, which I loved because it smelled of her. For the majority of the holidays, we spent each evening on the phone before we fell asleep, and send multiple text messages each day. Things became a little easier when Stacey and M broke up on Boxing Day, after M became fed up of Stace never seeming fully present. After around 10 days at home, I was starting to go a little crazy – missing Stace wasn’t helping – and so I made plans to go back to Scotland early and spent New Year’s with Stace and her best friend here in Edinburgh.

Carley, Stacey and Lewis in Edinburgh

Stace, her best friend and I on a night out

We spent an entertaining few days in Edinburgh, and welcomed 2010 in at the Meadows in Edinbrugh, standing in the snow and watching fireworks. Despite that fact that we were both now single, and pretty much crazy about one another (Stacey says that it was actually this point that she started realising that she was falling in love with me) we still refused to make it official; I kept insisting that I didn’t date.

And I carried on insisting this right through the first few weeks of January, threw a horrible cold, finishing my dissertation and handing it in, sitting my only exam of that exam period and celebrating with friends. Stacey had a couple of exams in this time too – in fact, she was revising for an exam the next day when I went for a walk from Anstruther to Pittenweem. After a walk to the lovely chocolate shop in the village, my friends and I sat drinking tea and eating scones when some little part of my brain just clicked, and I realised that I really did want to be with Stacey.

Carley on the walk between Anstruther and Pittenweem

So that’s how I ended up knocking on her front door the evening before her exam, with a bar of chocolate as a gift in her hand and the knowledge in my head that I wanted to be her girlfriend. I remember telling Stacey that I didn’t want to hide things any longer, and that I wanted to be able to chat with my friends without worrying about it… Stacey was slightly overwhelmed by my sudden relationship u-turn, but when she realised I was serious, she was very happy… The date was January 18th, and continues to be our official anniversary – although we’re more likely to celebrate November 26th (hence our anniversary trip to Paris last year) – the date of our first kiss.

Carley & Stacey circa 2010

January was a brilliant month for us, blissfully ignorant of the awful weeks and months to come. In the next post, I’ll write about what happened when Stacey completely messed up her exams and made the decision to leave me, and St Andrews.

Carley
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